DOH steps up Taal eruption response

MANILA — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday said the department has augmented the resources of its regional offices in response to the recent Taal Volcano eruption.

“We have sent drugs, medicines such as eye drops and asthma medication, medical supplies including N95 and surgical face masks, collapsible water containers and jerry cans, water purification tablets, and hygiene kits to Calabarzon and the National Capital Region,” Duque said in a statement.

Duque has advised people with asthma to wear the N95 mask, while those not suffering from respiratory ailments may use dust or surgical masks to avoid respiratory illnesses due to the ashfall from the eruption.

Following the volcano’s unrest, the DOH central office was placed on Code White Alert to maintain continuous coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and DOH Centers for Health Development in Calabarzon (Region 4-A) and NCR.

Under the Code White Alert, all hospital personnel are placed on standby for possible deployment.

The DOH has deployed its personnel to 139 evacuation centers and will continue to conduct rapid health assessment in affected municipalities in the region.

Meanwhile, Code Blue Alert has been raised in DOH Center for Health Development (CHD) Region 4-A, including all its hospitals.

This alert requires half of all hospital personnel to report for duty to provide medical assistance and services.

CHD Region 4-A is also in close coordination with the Regional DRRM member agencies.

It has also activated the Health Response Cluster, conducted disease surveillance, and procured N95 masks and medicines for respiratory ailments.  Ma. Teresa Montemayor /PNA –